By Jenna Schroeder, Back2Back Haiti Coordinator
I traveled to Haiti in March to spend time with our staff, see Back2Back’s ministry site and visit the children’s homes we work with. I couldn’t wait to soak up the colors, sounds and bright smiles I recall of Haiti. Once there, I was so inspired by one staff member in particular, Wadson, a Haitian translator who works with Brent Fudge, Back2Back Haiti director. As I got to know Wadson, I quickly recognized the beautiful story that God had intricately woven in his life.
Although Wadson has a mom and a sister, he is an orphan through poverty. He became one of the first students to attend a mission school a church started in his town of City of Soleil. When Bill Fudge (Brent’s father) asked the ministry how he could help, they paired him up with Wadson and asked him to be his sponsor. Bill said yes to this opportunity, which enabled Wadson to receive both a high school and college education. Growing up, Brent remembers seeing Wadson’s picture in their home every day on the fridge and as Bill served in Haiti regularly, he built a relationship with Wadson by sharing a meal with him whenever he visited.
In the early 2000s, like many other urban areas, the City of Soleil was shut down due to violent gangs. Wadson and his family were stuck in a violent area where he was under the constant tension of gangs trying to recruit him. In desperation, the gangs threatened him. As a result of his school master’s positive influence, Wadson resisted the temptation to succumb to intimidation and instead fled the city, leading his family to refuge from the gangs. His courage and poise lay witness to his Godly character.
Ten years later, Wadson would face another great challenge. When the 2010 earthquake hit Haiti, Wadson was in a class at his university. The building collapsed around him. He managed to wiggle his way to a small air pocket, buying time until a rescue crew discovered him. Minutes after they pulled Wadson from the rubble, the rest of the building collapsed. He and the rescuer raced to Wadson’s home to check on his family, only to find his mother and sister trapped in the wreckage. Together, piece-by-piece, they painstakenly shifted the concrete cinder blocks, until finally they were able to rescue them. Wadson is a true survivor – a shining example of fortitude and resilience.
“That is why I want to help ministries like Back2Back. Because someone believed in me and it gave me the education I needed to become more than I otherwise could have. I want to help ministries serve children, because I know the impact it will make. I am living it,” confided Wadson.
A living, breathing, walking example of what God can do through child sponsorship was walking next to me. Wadson already has a degree in communications and is working on his civil engineering degree now. Meanwhile, he has joined our staff to translate for our teams and serves the children. If you were to go to Haiti on a team you would see him wearing multiple hats as a Back2Back national partner. He is a natural leader and teacher. Wadson intuitively directs the children, keeps them focused on the activity at hand, and encourages their social development with visiting groups. He is a tremendous support to Brent, working together like brothers.
Wadson’s story has come full circle. His life epitomizes the power of sponsorship to make a lasting difference. Wadson shares his heart, skills, and resources to help others in his community. His story is one of strength and perseverance – a young orphan who overcame poverty through the support of child sponsorship only to return to his community to serve orphans alongside his former sponsor’s son. I am excited to see God continue to develop Wadson’s story line, as he serves orphans with Back2Back in Haiti.
After years of advocating for Haitian orphans, Jenna Schroeder now serves in Back2Back’s U.S. office as the Haiti Coordinator. Jenna enjoys worshipping through dance and going on adventures with her husband and four children.